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Health reform changing Woodlands

Published 11:13pm Thursday, February 16, 2012

CASSOPOLIS — Health care reform is recreating the business model Woodlands Behavioral Healthcare Network has followed as Cass County’s mental health services agency since 1965.
As Director Kathy Emans explained to the Board of Commissioners Thursday night in her annual report, Woodlands is affiliated regionally with Kalamazoo Community Mental Health Services, Allegan County Community Mental Health and Community Mental Health of St. Joseph County.
“Due to the structure of Medicaid funding in Michigan,” Emans said, “Kalamazoo is our designated PIHP,” or Pre-Paid Inpatient Health Plan. “They hold our Medicaid dollars for the region which fund our mental health and developmental disability services. Kalamazoo also functions as our coordinating agency, thereby holding our funds for substance abuse treatment. Woodlands does receive general fund dollars directly from the State of Michigan,” a county appropriation and United Way, which amounted to $10.5 million in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
“The most pressing (health care reform) challenge” is Michigan being one of 15 states to receive a planning grant to develop an alternate care model for individuals who qualify for Medicaid and Medicare.
“Potentially,” Emans said, “it could mean a reduction of one third of our budget. We’re working very closely with our legislators and the Department of Community Health so that no matter who provides services, quality services are provided for vulnerable populations.
“Additional challenges through health care reform are integrating primary care and behavioral health in a ‘health home’ philosophy. An example of that is our therapist co-located at Cassopolis Family Clinic.”
Woodlands provided behavioral health services to 1,251 individuals, including 647 adults with mental health conditions, 163 with developmental disabilities, 223 children and 218 substance abusers.
It is currently implementing a mental health trauma screening partnership with DHS (Department of Human Services) to assess children removed from their homes.
Emans noted Woodlands developed a wellness center because exercise is key to recovery.

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